Payless, Stride Rite Media Accounts Go to Optimedia

$90 Million Business for Brands Covers North America

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NEW YORK ( -- Publicis Groupe's Optimedia U.S. has won media buying and planning duties for Collective Brands' Payless ShoeSource and Stride Rite units, the marketer said.

TNS Media Intelligence puts Payless 2007 U.S. measured media spending at around $90 million.

Optimedia will be responsible for the media planning and buying for the U.S. general and Hispanic markets and the Canadian market for Payless ShoeSource, in addition to the North American efforts for Stride Rite brands including Stride Rite, Keds, Saucony and Sperry Top-Sider.

Other contenders
Optimedia won out over Omnicom Group's PHD and Spark Communications, a division of Publicis sibling Starcom MediaVest Group. The incumbent, WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, resigned the account because it was "unable to reach acceptable financial terms" with the footwear company, an agency spokeswoman said. However, Mediaedge:cia's Bravo unit will continue to serve as the media-buying and -planning agency of record for Payless in Puerto Rico.

Matt Rubel, CEO, Collective Brands, in a statement said Optimedia was selected based on "superior insights in our current and potential customers, strategic capabilities and creative ideas for media delivery."

As Publicis' smallest media agency network, Optimedia has taken steps to establish its strength in communications planning under the leadership of CEO Antony Young. The agency often partners with challenger brands, such as for its most recent win, Rhapsody America U.S., an iTunes rival.

The Payless review was conducted by Joanne Davis Consulting.
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